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Kingdom's Dawn (Kingdom Series) Kindle Edition

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Length: 160 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Age Level: 9 - 12
Grade Level: 4 - 7

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Chuck Black spent eight years in the Air Force traveling the world as a communications engineer and an F-16 fighter pilot. He has invented or coinvented eleven patented construction products now being sold internationally. He earned his BS in electrical and electronic engineering from North Dakota State University and today, with his wife, Andrea, is in his thirteenth year homeschooling their six children. The Blacks take their family music ministry on the road, singing Christian gospel, contemporary, and traditional songs. Chuck is enjoying his eighth year teaching adult Sunday school classes at First Baptist Church in Williston, North Dakota.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Voyage to the Edge

The occasional cool mist of the sea quietly reminds me of the unyielding truth of my journey. I am too far from battle to feel the rush within my muscles and yet too close to sleep.

The ship I am on is a grand ship and is only one of many. The night breeze chills my moist face as I gaze across the rhythmic mass and see the outline of hundreds of other gallant ships. Gallant ships carrying gallant knights. As I lean upon the mast, the creak of the timber and the melodic swish of each wave breaking against the bow tug upon my memories.

I am Cedric…Cedric of Chessington. You and I are alike in that we are on a journey. I am not referring to my trek upon this ship, although it is the final leg of my journey. No, my journey began a long time ago, when I was just a boy.

At ten years old, my heart was full of dreams and adventure. An old man by the name of Leinad enticed my appetite for adventure with his stories. His impact on my life was powerful, though I did not realize it at the time. I believed him as a boy, humored him as a young man, and honor him now, for the stories he told of his life were true. They were
of a truth that lost its believability as I grew into the reality of life and dared not believe. And yet, here I am on an adventure every bit as unbelievable as Leinad’s.

As I close my eyes, the moist air reminds me of the damp smell of spring nearly twenty-five years ago. There was a small stream east of Chessington that meandered south until it emptied into the vast sea. I loved to play upon its banks with my friend William. Our swords of willow clicked in the morning sunlight as we rescued the fair lady from the clutches of the Dark Knight.

William had been warned by his parents to stay away from the “crazy old man” who lived in a hut near the river, but I could not. He was odd for sure, but he was not dangerous at all. His tales of valor drew me to him. He was a mentor and a friend, and the memory of his voice has been a companion to me often, especially now that I know how his life fits so perfectly into the King’s plan for the kingdom. He had the voice of a seasoned knight…

“Sit down, lad, and share a slice of apple,” Leinad said as my mouth became wet in anticipation of the tart fruit. His worn hands worked the knife firmly and delicately to produce eight perfect slices.

“Sir Leinad, please tell me again about the mighty sword,” I pleaded as he slid a cracked wooden bowl across the table with the green apple slices. I thanked him and took a small nibble of my first slice to allow my mouth a chance to recover from the blast of sweetness that flooded my tongue and cheeks.

His silver hair seemed to betray the heart of a mighty warrior within. Though he was old, his shoulders were broad and his arms were strong. The firewood he chopped was an easy challenge for him, and the blade of the ax landed on its target every time. His gentle brown eyes were framed by tan wrinkles that ran toward his temples. They were eyes that I could gaze into and not turn away from. At times during his orations they became a living canvas that revealed love, pain, courage, and fear. The years of age only slightly masked what I knew was once a very handsome young man.

“Ah, Cedric, my dear boy,” he said and lowered himself into an adjacent chair on my right. It faced him toward a window that looked south to the sea, which was just beyond one’s vision. “That is a story worth its telling.”

A veteran hand landed on my shoulder, and his smile accompanied a wink. “It was a new beginning for the people, the dawn of a new kingdom…”

Leinad’s story is one of knights, swords, treachery, and love. There is no story like it, and though it is my beginning, it is his story–a story that must not be forgotten.

Chapter one

Vision Search

The razor-sharp tip of the sword screamed deathly close to Leinad’s chest as he quickly recovered from a foolish overextended thrust aimed for his opponent’s torso.

I’ll never underestimate his speed again, thought Leinad as he carefully took up his position, once again facing the older man. A quick exchange of cuts and parries ensued with no clear advantage. The older man advanced an attack with seasoned experience, carefully but aggressively. Leinad countered each attack with precision and confidence as he gave slightly, waiting for the expended energy to take its toll on the muscled frame of the older man. At sixteen years old, Leinad was just a boy to some, but his daily training by his mentor had developed strength and discipline in him before his time.

There it was–the first hesitation in his opponent’s volley of cuts was a clear indication to Leinad that his attack was ending. He had studied his opponent carefully and knew that if he was to be victorious, he had to capitalize on such a moment as this. As he deflected the last cut to his left, Leinad quickly rotated his body one full circle, which doubled the force of his blade as it raced toward the older man’s stomach. He risked the momentary unprotected
exposure of his back based on the fatigue he sensed in his opponent. If he miscalculated, he would die. If he was successful, he would be the victor.

As he neared completion of the circling maneuver, Leinad turned his head to locate the target for his following sword to strike, sure that it was impossible for the older man to retreat quickly enough to avoid his deadly blow. He was suddenly gripped with fear. His sword was screaming toward nothing but air; his opponent was gone.

The older man had dropped to one knee and raised his sword for protection as he saw the deadly arc of Leinad’s sword coming toward him. Leinad knew in an instant that he had miscalculated once again.

“Observation and experience build prediction, for if you study the past, you will know the future.” Leinad recalled this lesson from his mentor, and now he was about to die as
a consequence of forgetting it.

The speed of the sword was too great for him to change its direction, and yet once the sword passed over the head of his adversary, he would never be able to recover in time
to stop the fatal thrust from his opponent that would surely follow. As the sword approached the vacant target just above the head of the master swordsman, Leinad pulled
and jumped with all his might, using the momentum of the sword to catapult him, as though he were mounting a horse, over the top of the older man.

The last-chance maneuver sent Leinad tumbling on the ground behind the older man, but he was able to regain his footing before his opponent could turn and attack again.

The two swordsmen faced each other once again with sweat-soaked tunics and brows that could no longer hold the salty fluid that fell from their foreheads. The lush green meadow that hosted this fight seemed to wait patiently for its interrupted peace to return. The fight had lasted much longer than either of them had experienced before, and there was still no sign of a champion.

Leinad looked into the eyes of the older man–eyes that revealed experience, wisdom, and patience. He sensed a mutual respect for each other’s skill as a swordsman and for each other’s character as a man.

“That was a bit daring, son!” Leinad’s father said as he yielded his sword to his scabbard.

Leinad smiled and knew that his father had just rebuked him for his carelessness.

“I’m sorry, Father. I will be more careful in the future,” Leinad said as he too found a home for his sword in his own scabbard.

Leinad had been trained by his father every day for the past four years in the art of the sword. Peyton was a master swordsman, and Leinad saw his father’s commitment to
pass this mastery on to him through these lessons. Leinad also learned from his father that sword training alone was more devastating than helpful to a young man were it not
tempered with discipline, honor, integrity, loyalty, and honesty–the very qualities his father demonstrated each day. Today Leinad revealed his proficiency, and he knew he was fast becoming a master swordsman like his father.

Leinad was of average height but still growing. With dark hair that curled when wet, he bore a strong resemblance to his father, which even included the slight dimple in his chin. His smile was slightly higher on the left and accentuated the handsome features of a maturing young man. He felt himself growing stronger each day, but he knew his boyish look was still quite evident. Leinad was glad that his voice no longer cracked when he talked. He found it difficult to say the right things to folks other than his father, and attempting conversation with a voice that cracked didn’t help matters. Leinad’s eyes were different than Peyton’s though, for the deep, sharp eyes of his father gave way to the compassionate eyes of his mother.

Leinad remembered his mother, although the image of her delicate face had become faint with the passing years. This upset Leinad, and he clung to the memory of her love for him all the more. Dinan had died when Leinad was eight. Even then Leinad could sense a deep ache in her heart that never seemed to leave her. The winter she fell sick and died was too grievous a time for Leinad to talk about. He assumed that was true for his father as well since he talked only of the pleasant times they once had as a family.

Although it was not complete, his father’s gentle love was enough to carry Leinad into nanhood without his mother. His father fulfilled both roles as well as any man could. Leinad knew this and responded with respect and loyalty.

As they walked toward a favorite sprawling oak tree for a time of recovery, Peyton placed his arm around Leinad’s shoulder.

“Excellent lesson today, son. After our rest, how about we clean up and make a trip to town for some supplies?”

Leinad looked up slightly to meet his father’s eyes, for he was nearly equal in height, and smiled. Any time there was a break in the routine labor of the farm, Leinad enjoyed it. At first that was why he loved the lessons in sword fighting. But later he came to love the training because he had reached a point where he knew he was quite competent with the sword. Although he knew he was far from his father’s level of mastery, Leinad loved the fact that he was a challenge to him. For a long time he ignored the question that never left his mind: What does sword fighting have to do with farming?

The young lad loved to be in the presence of his father. There he felt secure. Not that Leinad ever felt threatened, for all he had ever known since he could remember was a
peaceful life in the land. Unlike many youths of sixteen, Leinad never saw his father as an overbearing fool. He could see the depth of wisdom that resided in his father, and he never questioned the truth and sincerity of his love for him.

Peyton was a tall man with a well-seasoned muscular frame. His dark hair was accompanied by wisps of gray near his temples, and his eyes were deep and sharp but not harsh. His hands were large and leathery from long hours of working the land. Early on Leinad knew that his father’s hands were fashioned for a different purpose–they had not always been the hands of a farmer. It was in the last four years that this was made obvious to him since his father
had begun teaching Leinad skills quite different from those required to grow food from the land.

After each had taken long drinks from their water flasks, they dug into a knapsack and enjoyed the sweet taste of fresh fruit. Now that peace had returned to the meadow, so had the songs of the birds.

Leinad and his father lived in the Plains of Kerr, which was along the western shore of the kingdom. The Great Sea bordered the kingdom on the west and down to the south as well. Most of the inhabitants of the Plains of Kerr were farmers. The town of Mankin served as a central community for the people as well as a place of trade for travelers from other regions of the kingdom.

Leinad’s farm was a half-day’s walk north of Mankin, and the Great Sea was just as far to the west. It was lush, beautiful country. The farm rested on the northern edge of the Plains of Kerr. Rugged wilderness and forested country filled with wildlife was north of the farm, which afforded Leinad and his father many days of excellent hunting. Just to the east of the farm was the gentle meadow in which their lessons of the sword usually took place. It was in this meadow that they now were enjoying a moment of rest.

“Your sword skills have greatly improved, Leinad,” Peyton said. “Do not become impatient with the fight. Impatience breeds recklessness, and recklessness will end in defeat against a skilled opponent. It is the patient perfecting of the fundamentals that wins battles. That is why I have worked with you to improve your strength and focus your mind, but you must decide that you will discipline yourself to use them.”

“I understand,” Leinad said. “Father, may I ask you a question?”


“What does sword fighting have to do with farming?”

Peyton finished a draw on his flask and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “No matter what a man’s occupation, he must be ready to fight for the King. One never knows if he will be called upon to serve the King in battle.”

Peyton paused and looked at Leinad. “But honestly, son, for you it will mean much, much more.” He did not wait for the next inevitable question. “Come. Let’s clean up and get to town so we can return home before dark.”

Product Details

More About the Author

Chuck Black is the author of nine novels including the popular Kingdom Series and The Knights of Arrethtrae series. He spent eight years in the Air Force traveling the world as a communications engineer and an F-16 fighter pilot. Today, Chuck is a product design engineer and has invented or coinvented eleven patented construction products now being sold internationally. His passion in life is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and to love his wife, Andrea, and their six children. The Blacks take their family music ministry on the road, singing Christian gospel, contemporary, and traditional songs. Chuck and his family live in North Dakota.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By J. Foster on March 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. Biblical allegories are often lame, and you get the feeling the author is trying too hard. I didn't get that feeling here. The story is different and strong enough to stand on its own. Kids who are not familiar with the various Biblical stories will still be on the edge of their seat. And if your child is familiar with Bible stories, once they "get" what is going on, it adds another whole level of interest as they try to link the story they are hearing with the stories they already know. But, that usually happens after each episode, since some of the segments are so tense they are completely lost in the story. I have three kids between 10 and 14, two girls and a boy, and they all love this book. "Please! One more chapter!" is a refrain I hear nearly every night.

One thing to note - the author does not shy away from accurate descriptions of battle and torture. They are age-appropriate and not gratuitous, and Black seems to have a knack for just getting to the point where it might be a bit much and then backing down. It's a fine line, but I think he walks it well. The Bible is not all neat, clean, and tidy, and I'm glad the book is not either.

Highly recommended.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Barney F. on February 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am a longtime medieval fantasy enthusiast, and a Christian. I am used to "Christian fiction" being either a good story that is seriously theologically flawed, or a bad, bad story that is theologically sound. Rarely do you find a book that is both a good story and theologically sound, let alone an entire series.

I am also a medieval reenactor and practitioner of Western Martial Arts. As such my only suggestion might be a greater familiarity with medieval swordplay but I'm very picky and I admit that anything that seemd awry was more than made up for elsewhere. ;)

My son is only three right now, but I am eagerly awaiting the day he is old enough for me to go through this series with him.

Thank you Mr. Black for your service and ministry.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book and was anxious to read the next in the series. As a teenager I highly recommend this book for all age groups. The author did a good job of portraying the bible in a medieval setting which made for exciting reading. This book goes goes from creation through captivity under the Pharoah which in this book is named Fairos. Great book! Highly recommend and I am so excited to see that the author has written more for a total of 6 in this series as of May 2007!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Thebius Stikkle on May 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like this book. I love YA literature and fantasy novels, especially the medieval "knights-and-castles" style. And I love good Christian allegory. So I came to this book really hoping that it would be a good read. And... it's really only Okay at best.

It's a very short book, only about 130-140 pages including the prologue and epilogue. That's not a lot of space to develop a complex plot, but this is a part of a six book series so there was definitely room to at least begin building towards a good story. The problem is that there is too much plot for that amount of space. I felt like I was reading an in-depth summary rather than a novel. There were sections of the story that had great potential for weight and development, but they were glossed over in a few paragraphs. This not only weakened the story telling, but also did not allow for much character development. The characters weren't bad necessarily, just generic and severely underdeveloped. The main character Leinad had the most description and some little development, but not nearly as much as he could have had.

On almost every page the author broke the most basic rule of writing, "show, don't tell". Character traits and responses were told to the reader rather than shown through actions or dialogue. This is ok sometimes, but it seemed like any time the author wanted to communicate something he just straight up told it to me rather than showed me. There were also several points in the narrative where Leinad asked internal questions that the reader should be asking already. These were not necessary to include and didn't add to the tension at all. In fact these thoughts would often break up the flow of the narrative rather than enhance it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Randleman on July 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
A few weeks ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to attend the Florida Homeschool Convention. It was a great convention, with lots of incredible workshops and great resources. While we were there, we took a walk through the vendor's area (actually, we took several walks through there...). My son was drawn to one particular table, holding a display of books... and swords.

My kids looked at the swords, I looked at the books, but we didn't buy either. we had just moved to Florida, and extra funds were simply non-existent at the moment. As we browsed, though, I struck up a conversation with the guy behind the table, Chuck Black, author of Kingdom's Dawn (Kingdom, Book 1), and several other books.

A year ago, I read and reviewed Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest (The Knights of Arrethtrae), the fifth book in Black's Knights Of Arrethtrae series. That series is the follow-up series to The Kingdom series, of which Kingdom's Dawn is the first. Chuck handed me Kingdom's Dawn, asking if I would do the same again.

As Chuck and I talked, explained to me that The Kingdom series, and Kingdom's Dawn, is written as an allegorical series of novels, attempting to capture the incredible story of the Bible. Kingdom's Dawn covers the book of Genesis, describing Leinad's adventures through life, including hearing about Creation, experiencing Noah's Flood, and living through the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
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